Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Friedman's Moves In

Now and then, against my better judgment, I walk by the shell of the once great Cafe Edison to see how the renovations are coming along.

This week, it looks like its replacement, Friedman's, is close to opening.

There's neon framing the windows where the Friedman's signage has appeared.

They've painted over the once famous powder pink and baby blue walls, turning them beige. Which seems appropriate -- it's going from the best matzo balls and blintzes in town to a gluten-free existence.

While the hotel owners originally claimed they would replace Cafe Edison with a "white-tablecloth" restaurant and a "name chef," they later announced that mini-chain Friedman's Lunch would be going in. "Just like the Cafe Edison," reported the Daily News in 2015, "the new restaurant is not some flashy, white-tablecloth type space... It’s a modest, family business." The real-estate broker on the deal told the paper, “It’s old-school, hearty good food. We must have gotten 50 offers but the landlord didn’t want big chains or celebrity chefs. They wanted something warm. This is going to be everything the Edison Cafe was--just a few decades later."

But there's no Mom and Pop Friedman here. The name is a tribute to Milton Friedman, the modern-day father of neoliberalism, that radical free-market capitalist system that is driving the hyper-gentrification of cities around the globe.

You can't make this stuff up.

If you want to read more about this place, and the fight to save Cafe Edison, you can read more here.


samadamsthedog said...

Edison must have been "once great" many, many years before its demise. The best you could say for it over its last, say, 40 years was that on a good day, you could spot an unemployed actor slurping his watery soup in the corner. And on a great day, two of them commiserating.

Scout said...

I have to admit agreement with samadamsthedog; the Cafe Edison was a perfect complement to the hotel to which it was attached - dirty, ugly, and what would be called in Yiddish/German gemein. The food also represented the gestalt of the place - a poisonous collection of saturated fat and sodium.

I sympathize if this is what one likes - bad food in a dirty environment. But I would caution against getting nostalgic over such things. It's a kind of "Make America Great Again" thinking.

John K said...

Ah, I can almost already smell (Milton) Friedman's fresh stench of neoliberalism perfuming that storefront!

Anonymous said...

Well when you have 8 failed years of Keynesian socialism and horrific government overreach ... old Uncle Milty starts to look pretty damn good. Also worth noting is that the the last POTUS & current mayor (both socialist messiahs) have just accelerated the demise of NYC more than any neoliberal ever did.

Anna B. said...

Losing the character of NY is a real problem and truly sad, but I resent the gluten-free dig! It may be trendy now, but I've been dealing with celiac disease for 15 years and restaurants like Friedman's have been literally life-changing for a lot of people.